Open vSwitch is a multilayer software switch licensed under the open source Apache 2 license. Our goal is to implement a production quality switch platform that supports standard management interfaces and opens the forwarding functions to programmatic extension and control.
Open vSwitch is well suited to function as a virtual switch in VM environments. In addition to exposing standard control and visibility interfaces to the virtual networking layer, it was designed to support distribution across multiple physical servers. Open vSwitch supports multiple Linux-based virtualization technologies including Xen/XenServer, KVM, and VirtualBox.
The bulk of the code is written in platform-independent C and is easily ported to other environments. The current release of Open vSwitch supports the following features:
The included Linux kernel module supports Linux 2.6.32 and up, with testing focused on 2.6.32 with Centos and Xen patches. Open vSwitch also has special support for Citrix XenServer and Red Hat Enterprise Linux hosts.
Open vSwitch can also operate, at a cost in performance, entirely in userspace, without assistance from a kernel module. This userspace implementation should be easier to port than the kernel-based switch. It is considered experimental.
The main components of this distribution are:
Open vSwitch also provides some tools:
To install Open vSwitch on a regular Linux or FreeBSD host, please read [INSTALL.md]. For specifics around installation on a specific platform, please see one of these files:
To use Open vSwitch...
...with Docker on Linux, read [INSTALL.Docker.md]
...with KVM on Linux, read [INSTALL.md], read [INSTALL.KVM.md]
...with Libvirt, read [INSTALL.Libvirt.md].
...without using a kernel module, read [INSTALL.userspace.md].
For answers to common questions, read [FAQ.md].
To learn how to set up SSL support for Open vSwitch, read [INSTALL.SSL.md].
To learn about some advanced features of the Open vSwitch software switch, read the [tutorial/Tutorial.md].
Each Open vSwitch userspace program is accompanied by a manpage. Many of the manpages are customized to your configuration as part of the build process, so we recommend building Open vSwitch before reading the manpages.